Remember the age old adage when traveling with children and in their eagerness to reach the destination they repeat every few minutes, “Are we there yet?” This is the same kind of curiosity we have in our Programs & Services department at The Caring Place. We consider programming to be a journey, and it is our job to understand the needs of our community on that journey. Are we making an impact on those needs and, “Are we ‘there’ yet?”
The Caring Place has a young program that began spring of 2018, called SIP (Senior Independence Program). SIP began as an endeavor to partner with folks sixty five and older through a walk of solidarity during some of life’s most trying times, all caused by aging. In a perfect world, ‘there’ for the SIP journey would be a place where folks in their golden years can be happy, healthy and live independently. SIP seeks to understand what ‘there’ looks like during an aging journey, what is most needed to get ‘there,’ what supports are necessary to stay ‘there,’ and the motivating factors that determine where ‘there’ is. Neighbors, ages 65 and older, make up 30% of the Georgetown population, so these are important questions in our community.
Currently, SIP services are developing naturally through community engagement and from the guidance of current seniors in the program. Additionally, roadway signs have also played a role in targeting innovations. For example, statistics noticed early on in the SIP journey were: Each year, 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. In Georgetown Texas, Approximately 1,860 or 25% of dispatched calls to persons 65+ are to those who have experienced a fall. These cautions demand attention as a community working to better serve seniors.
Because falls are highly preventable, SIP incorporated a class called ‘A Matter of Balance’. A Matter of Balance is not new to senior programming. The class originated in 1995 from the Trustees of Boston University as an evidence based methodology of fall prevention. The class focuses on reducing fears and increasing activity to reduce falls. The program boasts outcomes of 97% of all folks who participate, actually increase their physical activity and can comfortably discuss their fall concerns. In addition, 97-99% of A Matter of Balance participants say they plan to maintain their exercises and would recommend the class to others.
In The Caring Place Senior Independence Program, we recognize that aging is a journey and it can be individually challenging. One thing we know for sure is that A Matter of Balance class is highly recommended for making the aging journey a safer one. If you are over 60, be a trailblazer and a positive statistic here in Georgetown; sign up for A Matter of Balance Class this year. The Caring Place provides spring and fall classes or can connect you to other community teaching partners. Age well in 2020 and keep your eyes on the journey at hand.